India’s trade with China soared to an all-time high of $135.98 billion in 2022. Despite geopolitical tensions and the global pandemic, business between these two Asian giants is booming. And it’s not just large corporations that are cashing in. Small businesses and individual sellers are also getting a piece of the pie.


But this relationship comes with its complexities, rules, and paperwork. Did you know certain products require a BIS certification for legal importation into India? Or that choosing the wrong shipping method could cost you a small fortune?


These are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the intricacies of importing goods from China to India. That’s why we’ve crafted this comprehensive, step-by-step guide to demystify the process.


Step-by-Step Process on How to Import from China to India


1: Finding the Right Supplier in China


A reliable supplier can make your importing process smooth, cost-effective, and hassle-free. The supplier you choose will directly impact the quality of your products, the cost of your goods, and the efficiency of the shipping process. They are not just a source for your products; they are a partner in your business. Therefore, it’s essential to find a supplier who is reliable, trustworthy, and aligned with your business goals.


2: Choosing the Right Shipping Method


When importing goods from China to India, a pivotal decision you’ll need to make is selecting the appropriate shipping method. Your options primarily include Air Freight, Sea Freight, and Courier Services.


Air Freight: This is the fastest way to get your goods from China to India. If time is of the essence, air freight is your go-to option. It’s ideal for lightweight or high-value goods that must reach their destination post-haste.


Sea Freight: If importing bulky items or large quantities, sea freight is usually the most cost-effective option. While it takes longer—sometimes several weeks—it allows you to bring in large volumes at a fraction of the cost of air freight.


Courier Services: These are best suited for small packages or documents that need to be moved quickly but aren’t as time-sensitive as those requiring air freight.


3: Packing and Labelling Your Goods


Inadequate packaging can result in damaged goods, and incorrect labelling can lead to delays in customs or even the return of the shipment.


India has stringent rules when it comes to packaging, especially for food items, electronics, and pharmaceuticals.


For instance, food products must meet the FSSAI guidelines, and electronic items often require BIS certification. Ensure you know these regulations to avoid any hiccups during customs clearance.


4: Obtaining the Necessary Documents


Paperwork is the backbone of international trade, and missing or incorrect documents can result in significant delays and additional costs.


Commercial Invoice: This is a legal document between the supplier and the buyer that describes the sold goods and the amount the buyer owes to the seller.


Bill of Lading: This serves as a receipt for the shipped goods and as a contract between you and the carrier.


Packing List: This document accompanies your shipment and details the specific items included in the shipment, their quantity, and their dimensions.



5: Clearing Customs Formalities


Once your goods arrive in India, they will be subject to customs inspection. This involves a thorough review of all accompanying documents and potentially a physical examination of the goods themselves.


Once all duties and taxes are paid and the goods are approved, they will be released for delivery. In addition to the Commercial Invoice, Bill of Lading, and Packing List, you may also need the following:


Certificate of Origin: To prove where the goods were manufactured.


Importer Exporter Code (IEC): Import export code is issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT); this is mandatory for anyone involved in importing or exporting goods.


Insurance Certificate: To verify that your goods are insured.


Health and Safety Certificates: Especially for food items, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.


6: Arranging for Delivery


Once customs release your goods, they will be moved to a bonded warehouse if you’ve chosen sea freight or to the cargo terminal if it’s air freight. From there, you’ll need to arrange for their transportation to your warehouse, store, or directly to the customer.



Compliance with Rules and Regulations


In China, you’ll need to adhere to their export control laws, which may require obtaining an export license depending on the type of goods. Additionally, China has specific packaging and labelling requirements that you must comply with.


On the Indian side, you’ll need to be aware of the Customs Act of 1962, the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, and other regulations governing imports. For instance, certain goods require a Compulsory Registration Scheme under the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), while others may fall under the SCOMET list, requiring additional licenses.



Conclusion: Get Your Products Imported Hassle-Freely with NimbusPost


Importing products from one country to another has become a common practice. However, the process can be fraught with complexities, especially when dealing with countries like China, known for its stringent regulations and diverse product offerings. That’s where NimbusPost comes in. NimbusPost serves as a vital link between importers in India and some of the most reliable suppliers in China.


Whether you’re a seasoned business owner or a newcomer to the import-export business, NimbusPost’s extensive network can connect you with suppliers that match your procurement needs.


With a sprawling 3000 sqft. of warehousing space in China, you can accommodate a wide range of products. But it’s not just about the space but about what happens within it. NimbusPost arranges same-day pickups, ensuring that your products are not languishing in storage but are on the move, heading toward their final destination.


Talking about quick and efficient shipping, NimbusPost also offers console shipments at highly competitive rates. By consolidating similar types of cargo, you can significantly reduce your transportation costs. We also simplify the customs process by offering origin and destination customs clearance. The documentation process is streamlined and user-friendly, eliminating the usual headaches associated with customs procedures.


While NimbusPost has made a name for itself in facilitating imports from China to India, you can also import products from Far East countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and others. This expands your horizons as an importer, giving you more options and flexibility in your procurement strategies.






What is the most profitable product to import in India?


Electronics, machinery, organic chemicals, and medical equipment are among the most profitable products to import into India based on market demand, import duties, and consumer trends. These products generally offer high margins and are in constant demand.


Can I still import from China to India?


Yes, you can import products from China to India. However, it’s essential to have an Import-Export Code (IEC) number, which serves as your import license. Make sure to comply with all customs regulations and documentation requirements, including obtaining a commercial invoice, bill of lading, and packing list. It’s advisable to consult with a customs broker or use a freight forwarding service like NimbusPost for a smooth import process.


What India imports from China in 2023?


Electronic instruments are the most imported product category from China and India. It is increasing by 14% year-on-year, followed by organic chemicals rising by 9% and iron and steel products by 12.3%.

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